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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Volatiles modulate the development of plant pathogenic rust fungi.

Rust fungi are obligate biotrophic pathogens that differentiate a series of specialized cells to establish infection. One of these cells, the haustorium, which serves to absorb nutrients from living host cells, normally develops only in planta. Here, we show that the rust fungus Uromyces fabae (Pers.) Schroet. stimulates volatile emission of its host, broad bean (Vicia faba L.). Volatiles were identified and shown to be perceived by the fungus in in vitro assays that excluded the host. Three of them, nonanal, decanal, and hexenyl acetate promoted the development of haustoria on artificial membranes. In contrast, the terpenoid farnesyl acetate suppressed this differentiation. In assays using whole plants, farnesyl acetate reduced rust disease not only on broad bean but also on several cereals and legumes including soybean. This natural substance was effective against all rusts tested when directly applied to the host. This demonstrated that farnesyl acetate may serve as a powerful novel tool to combat rust fungi including Phakopsora pachyrhizi that currently threatens the production of soybeans world-wide.[1]


  1. Volatiles modulate the development of plant pathogenic rust fungi. Mendgen, K., Wirsel, S.G., Jux, A., Hoffmann, J., Boland, W. Planta (2006) [Pubmed]
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